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Ryan, Summer, Seth, and Marissa think about what they'd like to do with their lives as they compile their college applications, but they run across several obstacles. Seth decides against going to Sandy and Kirsten's alma mater, the University of California at Berkley, near San Francisco, and decides on Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, but cannot bring himself to tell his father.

Summer wants to attend the University of Arizona, but when she sees Seth wants to move to a college back east, she decides to attend, only to run into Taylor whom takes the sole remaining application to Brown. Ryan does not know where he might go to college, while Marissa is persuaded to attend despite knowing her bad reputation.

Meanwhile, Johnny's surfing career takes an unfortunate twist when he gets hit by a moving car in a parking lot, and the doctor's diagnosis is that he may not be able to surf again to his injured left leg.

Also, Julie finally reveals to Kirsten the secret about the departed Charlotte when she's finally evicted from Charlotte's townhouse and is forced to move into a wretched trailer park.